Japan's master animator, Hayao Miyazaki, has been making feature films for nearly 25 years, but has only recently become an "overnight" success in America. Alongside his recent "Ponyo," Disney has re-released three of his films from the Eighties: "Castle in the Sky," "Kiki's Delivery Service" and "My Neighbor Totoro."
Each of the three is different. From 1986, "Castle in the Sky" is about a young girl with a crystal necklace that shows its wearer how to find Laputa, a legendary airborne castle. Pirates are after her for the gem, as are sinister government agents. There are hints of Jules Verne in the design of Laputa and the airships used in its pursuit. In 1989's "Kiki's Delivery Service," a 13-year-old witch has to move to a strange city for a full year, using only her magic as a means of support. Kiki's magic is the ability to fly a broom.
Miyazaki's visuals are always enchanting, and they grow richer as his art matures. These American-dubbed versions feature the voice talents of many actors familiar to film and TV audiences.
The three DVD packages contain tons of background material. No one interested in anime or animation in general ? can afford to let these films go. They are definite purchases. Try one and you'll want them all. ?Doug Bentin